“Innovative cuisine,” “classic comfort-driven” and “old world meets new world”. These are all phrases that Angela Willett, owner and operator of Harvest Bistro & Wine Bar, uses to describe the new and improved face of La Poste Eatery.
Having been in the Food and Beverage industry in Cincinnati for over 20 years and a previous employee at Tink’s Café, which preceded La Poste Eatery, Willett is very familiar with the neighborhood and all of the businesses around.
“Essentially, we developed the concept of Harvest Bistro on ‘great food, fresh food and local food,’” she says. “It’s fine dining service with a warm and friendly environment. We are very service-focused and value-driven. We host a lot of private events for wedding receptions and wedding rehearsals, but we also want to make sure that we’re being very community minded.”
Willett says she hopes the rebrand will help locals think of them throughout the week instead of just a weekend fine dining destination. “With the whole uptown neighborhood, we want to encourage folks to come in for a family dinner on a Wednesday or before or after a movie on any given night,” she continues. “We’re taking upscale dining and neighborhood bistro, then combining them into one package.”
On February 18, La Poste Eatery officially re-launched as Harvest Bistro & Wine Bar. “Although I had been with La Poste for over a year and we bought it last March, people had an idea of La Poste as being this fine dining destination with French-influenced American cuisine,” says Willett. “We wanted to get a fresh look and fresh eyes on Harvest Bistro, so we figured that the only way to successfully do that would be to change our name and rebrand.”
With a rise in new diners and return customers, Willett says the facelift seems to be working. “In addition to new diners, we’re also seeing people who had tried La Poste once five years ago come back in to take another look at it,” she explains. “I think we’re building a lot of good business with new diners and people who are coming back in and giving us another try.”
Another contributing factor to a rise in business has been an increase in hours and targeting a wider breadth of diners. “When I took over at La Poste, they were only opened Tuesday thru Saturday night,” says Willett. “We are excited to have extended our hours and that we are officially open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.”
Willett also expressed that they are now focusing on serving the Clifton community and other far-reaching neighborhoods, hospitals and universities. “That has been a goal of ours with getting the kitchen in line and finding the best fit for a chef, which was an arduous journey in itself,” says Willett. “We finally found a fit with our chef, Justin Miller, who is such a creative thinker and hard worker.”
Not only is creating an “upscale tablecloth” environment important at Harvest Bistro, but so is smart dining. “We are really passionate about supplying local vendors with business as well,” says Willett. “ We look for the best proteins from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, as well as the best artisans. We’re very focused on local and natural – so healthful dining is certainly top of mind for us.”
For Willett, the greatest reward is creating a feeling of community with food. “I love to offer the most healthful foods – all-natural, grass fed, local and chemical free,” she explains. “I enjoy taking the best ingredients and putting them into play in a way that is very acceptable for the average diner who wants to walk in and enjoy dinner. I love to create that sense of community.”
In looking to the future, Willett also hopes to team up with her husband, Joseph Clark, Beverage Program Director at Harvest Bistro, to plan more wine tastings, wine classes and cooking classes – all while holding more food-based events. “We do a lot of that already, but we’re looking forward to doing more because we have such a beautiful space for that.”